Peterson: Congress should ‘look at’ banning caloric pop from food stamp purchases

WASHINGTON — Rep. Collin Peterson on Thursday suggested Congress consider banning caloric soft drinks from being purchased with food stamps as a way to address obesity.

According to multiple reports, Peterson said the proposed ban is “clearly is something we need to look at,” though he added that he neither supports nor opposes the suggestion at this point.

Peterson’s comments followed a House Agriculture Committee meeting, in which a panelist suggested the embargo. The hearing was one of many Peterson is holding as an early preview of the 2012 Farm Bill, which includes the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The exact suggestion Peterson was responding to, as reported by Reuters’ Charles Abbott:

Wellesley College professor and food expert Rob Paarlberg suggested the ban during a hearing to review the 2008 farm law, which includes food stamps as well as crop subsidies. Food stamps help low-income people buy food. One in eight Americans receives food stamps.

The anti-hunger program accounts for 40 percent of Agriculture Department spending and outweighs crop subsidy and land stewardship spending of $10 billion this year.

“I would argue caloric soda should be made ineligible for purchase under SNAP, like tobacco and alcohol,” said Paarlberg, using the new name for food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. He later said sugary sodas are “a huge part of the obesity problem.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 05/14/2010 - 08:59 am.

    “Non-caloric” soda should also not be available via food stamps. Food stamps should be used to purchase food.

  2. Submitted by Sherry Berg on 05/17/2010 - 02:58 pm.

    yes, let’s focus on the poor people… that will solve our problems… NOT

  3. Submitted by Erica Mauter on 05/20/2010 - 09:45 am.

    Diet pop is not any better for you than regular pop.

    How about subsidizing healthier food so it’s more affordable instead? Oh, wait, don’t want to piss off Big Agriculture.

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